I first saw this image on Facebook where my friend shared it with the following comment:
“Not body shaming, but it is NOT ok to be fat. If you have medical issues and became big cuz (sic) of hormonal imbalance etc, then fine. But no, having a very plus sized woman walk the runway doesn’t make it ok to be fat, it doesn’t make her “real”. Since when is keeping urself (sic) fit and trim “unreal”?? Nonsense.”
My initial reaction was shock, anger and denial that the model above (Ashley Graham, who is a US size 16) shouldn’t be on the runway. Although she’s not stick-thin like the typical model, I think she’s beautiful! Moreover, the comment does seem to be body shaming.
Here the comments from her friends and some of our mutual ones:
I agree with all of them. What Graham has done by coming up with her own range of lingerie for plus sized women and to be the model herself is to show the world that you can be sexy and beautiful at ANY size.
True, we do need to keep ourselves healthy and fit but what the media portrays with stick thin models or only athlete’s bodies isn’t representative of the world’s population. We’re all of different sizes and at different stages of our lives.
The initial Facebook post by Explore Talent was based on this article, which you can read here. Interestingly, there’s no mention about being ‘real’. What Graham has done is to help women to regain confidence and self esteem about their bodies. I honestly do agree that even if you are obese, if you love yourself and your body, you’ll start to be more self assured and take steps to be more healthy while not stressing over trying to conform to societal’s view of ‘sexy’ and ‘beautiful’.
Well, not everybody thinks that the model is beautiful as we can see from some other comments:
I do have to agree with 1 point, which is that since we’re body shaming fat women, we should be body shaming skinny people to be fair too! Haha….just kidding. What I really mean is that there’s no single body type that should be socially shamed. What is more important is general health which cannot be really seen from physical appearances although that’s how we’ve been socially trained plus trained by evolution to accept.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’ve met super fit yoga instructors who still have curves/bulges but are able to out-crunch and out-bend you (one of them even instructs body pump so I think she may out-run you too). I’ve also met skinny people who look like they’re the epitome of health but when it came to the annual Physical Training Test in school, they couldn’t pull themselves up nor jump far enough to pass. During my stint at Outward Bound, 2 of our instructors couldn’t be physically different as night and day. One was stick thin while the other was stocky and tall. But when it came to physical endurance and fitness, both were on par. They could outrun my male classmates who barely finished their National Service and could be considered to be in their prime of health.
To challenge my friend’s comment about not “putting up ultra skinny models up on the runway cuz (sic) they bring across bad message to the little girls starving themselves”…if we can put skinny models on the runway, then why can’t we put plus sized models? The world doesn’t have a single size (I still don’t get size 0 by the way…to be, 0 is the absence of a size), we’re all made of different shapes and sizes. As someone who has struggled with my weight due to my endometriosis as well as my love for food plus genes that just love fats, I would love to see a runway that celebrates ALL women on the runway. No single size. Put them ALL on the runway. That’s “real” because that’s reality.